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Thursday, 3 May 2012 / Robinson College, Cambridge / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Vsesvit (The Universe) is the oldest active literary journal in Ukraine, founded in 1925 by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Vasyl Blakytnyi, and Mykola Khvylovyi. It has translated over 4,000 works from 98 literatures of the world into the Ukrainian language. Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, a programme of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge, welcomes you to an evening of musical performances and literary readings in tribute to the journals many contributions to world culture. This year we celebrate in particular the Jewish heritage of Ukraine and the journals publication of Hebrew- and Yiddishlanguage classics in Ukrainian translation. Vsesvit is known in Ukraine for offering its readers a window to the world. In this spirit, the evenings programme is organised as a series of five windows, each revealing a cultural landscape marked by joy and hope, anger and despair, solidarity and fellowship. The complexities of the Ukrainian-Jewish encounter are captured poignantly in these remarks, published in Vsesvit in 1991, by Israeli writer Amos Oz: My mother was born and raised in Rivne, a Ukrainian town that she brought with her to Jerusalem. She sang lullabies to me in Ukrainian; she told me Ukrainian fairy tales and folk legends in Hebrew. But did she love Ukraine? Not quite. Did she hate it? No. As a child I felt that her love for Ukraine was bound up with anger, that this anger was bound up with grief, and that this grief was bound up with pain. When I grew older, I understood that this mixture of emotions has a name: unrequited love. For long stretches in the history of our peoples, we drew inspiration from each other. This mutual relation often came at a cost. And sometimes it led to something more terrible. But I believe this: in Jerusalem there will always be a piece of Ukraine, and in Ukraine there will always be a piece of Jerusalem.
Image by Steve Pyke, The New Yorker

19.00 - 19.45 Wine reception in the Hall Balcony, Robinson College, Cambridge 19.45 - 21.00 Musical performances and literary readings in the Chapel, Robinson College, Cambridge WINDOW ONE 1. Ukrainian Sherele From the repertoire of the Jewish Orchestra of the Ukrainian SSR (c 1937) 2. Ahavo Rabo From the collection of Moyshe Beregovsky, who conducted ethnomusicological research with Jewish musicians near Kyiv in the 1930s Performed by Ilana Cravitz and Carol Isaacs Ilana Cravitz has introduced hundreds of people of all ages to klezmer through gigs in venues large and small, as well as via courses and workshops at universities and conservatoires, and at events like the Genius of the Violin Festival and Fiddles on Fire.Her book Klezmer Fiddle: A How-To Guide is published by Oxford University Press and was described by Folk Roots magazine as the best exposition Ive come across of Eastern European-style Jewish fiddle playingHighly recommended. Ilana guests regularly with ceilidh band The Muckers and is working with English folk singer Rosanna Lowe. She studied baroque violin at postgraduate level at the Royal College of Music., A classically-trained pianist, keyboard player and accordionist, Carol Isaacs works in the pop and world music fields. She has recorded and toured with many international artists including Sinead OConnor (Ireland), The Indigo Girls, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne (USA), Robert Palmer, Boy George, Sam Brown, Midge Ure, Latin Quarter (UK), Natacha Atlas, Sheik Taha (Egypt), Abdel Ali Slimani (Algeria), Ahmed Mukhtar (Iraq), and Phongsit Khampee, Surachai Janthimatorn (Thailand).

WINDOW TWO Rachel Rachel Bluwstein Sela (1890 - 1931), widely known as Rachel or Rachel the poetess, was born in Saratov, Russia. Her grandfather was the rabbi of Kyivs Jewish community. During her childhood she lived in Poltava before moving to Kyiv to study painting. She emigrated to Palestine in 1909. Her works were featured in Vsesvit 12 (1995).

Translated from the Hebrew by Viktor Baryshpol

To My Country Rachel Translated from the Hebrew by Jean Shapiro Cantu and Robert Friend I have not sung you, my country, not brought glory to your name with the great deeds of a hero or the spoils a battle yields. But on the shores of the Jordan my hands have planted a tree, and my feet have made a pathway through your fields. Modest are the gifts I bring you. I know this, mother. Modest, I know, the offerings of your daughter: Only an outburst of song on a day when the light flares up, only a silent tear for your poverty.

... Translated from the Hebrew by Viktor Baryshpol

Meeting, Hardly Meeting... Rachel Translated from the Hebrew by Jean Shapiro Cantu and Robert Friend Meeting, hardly meeting, suffices: one quick glance, fragments of obscure words, and again waves of happiness and pain sweep over everything and rage. The dam of oblivion I had built in my defence is as if it had never been. I kneel on the shore of the roaring sea and drink my fill.

WINDOW THREE Aharon Appelfeld Aharon Appelfeld was born in 1932 in Chernivtsi [Czernowitz], in what is today southwestern Ukraine. At the age of eight he was sent to a concentration camp in Transnistria. After a daring escape, he spent more than three years in hiding. He emigrated to Palestine in 1946. Since then, in the words of American critic Irving Howe, he has become one of the greatest novelists alive. In 1989 Appelfeld published the novel Katerina, which is written from the point of view of a Ukrainian peasant woman who enters into the service of a Jewish family. As Appelfeld explains in Vsesvit 12 (1995), in which an excerpt from the novel was published, the character of Katerina was based on real figures from his childhood: Ukraine has been imprinted onto my memory and onto my heart. My soul dives into memories of a time before my years of wandering and suffering: memories of the family home in Czernowitz [Chernivtsi] and of my nanny. No, my nanny was not just one woman. As a child I had a few. They were kind, attentive, and gentle, and I loved all of them equally. Later, their faces, voices and traits coalesced into one figure, who became the Katerina of my novel.

[] Translated from the Hebrew by Viktor Radutskyi and Ivan Bilyk

Katerina [An excerpt] Aharon Appelfeld Translated from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green My name is Katerina, and I will soon be eighty years old. After Easter I returned to my native village and to my fathers farm, small and dilapidated, with no building left intact except this little hut where Im living. But it has one single window, open wide, and it allows in the breadth of the world. My eyes, in truth, have grown weaker, but the desire to see still throbs within them. At noon, when the light is most powerful, open space expands before me as far as the banks of the Prut, whose water is blue this season, vibrant with splendor. I left this place behind more than sixty years ago -- to be precise, sixty-three years ago -- but it hasnt changed much. The vegetation, that green eternity which envelops these hills, stands tall. If my eyes do not deceive me, its even greener. A few trees from my distant childhood still stand straight and sprout leaves, not to mention that enchanting, wavelike movement of these hills. Everything is in its place, except for the people. Theyve all left and gone away. [...] Whoever thought I would come back here? I had erased this first bosom from my memory like an animal, but a persons memory is stronger than he is. What the will doesnt do is done by necessity, and necessity ultimately becomes will. Im not sorry I returned. Apparently, it was ordained. 7

WINDOW FOUR Hayim Nahman Bialik

Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934) was born in the Volyn region, in what is today western Ukraine. A pioneer and giant of modern Hebrew poetry, he is widely recognized as Israels national poet. His Hebrew verse was featured in Vsesvit 9 (1989), his Yiddish works in Vsesvit 5-6 (1994).

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On the Threshold of the House of Prayer [An excerpt] Hayim Nahman Bialik Translated from the Hebrew by Israel Efros Fane of my youth, my ancient house of prayer, Thy threshold long decayed I read once more; At thy smoke-covered walls once more I stare, At beams blackened with soot, and unswept oor. For lack of pilgrims doubly art thou waste, Thy paths and walks are overgrown with grass; 10

The spider on thy beams its web has traced, Young ravens croak on thy rent roof, alas! Thy crumbling stones with fragments ll thy lanes, Thy pillars crack... Gods power thee sustain. An ark lies on thy ground bereft of Scrolls, Green withered parchments in the barrel rot; And sadly sunbeams gaze through cracks and holes, Each corner mourns, each nook bewails thy lot... Ye sacred wall, walls of my house of prayer, A haven once for valiant souls and true, Why stand ye speechless thus, and, in despair, Cast dark and silent shadows, grim to view? Has God departed from your wastes forever? Dust-sunken walls, will He restore you never? [...] Once more, my fane, with head downcast and bent, I tread thy threshold, desolate like thee. Shall I thy ruin or mine own lament, Or mourn the twain, my tear-oods streaming free? Abandoned is thy nest, thy edglings gone, Like shadows vanished in the lofty trees... On craggy mountains many are undone, And many aimless stray in alien leas. Will thy sons meet righteous death, or peace nd yet In abject life, and haply thee forget? No honey gathered I when I was carried Off by the baleful spirit, new and gripping, Lost is my hope, my world is ruined and harried, Waters reached my soul, yet soul escaped a dipping... For strongly armed I left thy tranquil shade, Flanked always by the angels of thy grace: A fruitful mind to lend my spirit aid, A trusting heart the faltering knee to brace. Im stripped and vanquished by the enemy, And yet I saved my God, and God saved me.



[] Translated from the Yiddish by Abram Katsnelson



The Last Word [An excerpt] Hayim Nahman Bialik A provisional translation from the Yiddish I am sent to you by God. He saw your miserable lot. He saw your pain, your torment, Your flesh decaying with each day. He saw your resignation and languor, Your strength and power diminishing. And God did not forget you; He brought me to you. And God said unto me: I can bear this yoke no longer! Go forth and pluck the wailing from their breast And flick the tear from their eye. Let the tear be harsh and bitter, Let the wailing be thunderous So that the earth shakes And expels all wickedness. I obeyed and went forth, My path strewn with stones. Only one demand and one desire Seized me deep in my bones. I felt that you were captive to serpents, That there was no one with you, no one at your side. Your pain moved me. I understood my help was needed. God cursed me with a tender heart, A heart that beats for others and Is consumed by others hell. I saw you praying to God, Seeking solace and assistance, Choking silently on your tears. Every moment is precious. I come, making haste to cure your affliction, To bleed together with you. And wherever needed, I will bind, And wherever needed, I will lick The blood dripping from your wounds. I will console, comfort, and rouse you, And not let you fall into despair! I come bringing succor and Bearing news of consolation. 15

God has blessed me with a spirit That I present and give to you. God has forged my courage, Which moves mountains and does not tire, Which stiffens my resolve To confront evil in the eye. God has given me a tongue Sharp, sharp like a piercing ring. If you are stone, my tongue is iron, If you are iron, then it is steel. I am coming; and when I appear At once you will rise.

WINDOW FIVE 1. Di verbe ('The Willow') Music by an unknown author; original Hebrew words by H. N. Bialik. Yiddish translation by Y. A. Ma-Yofis 2. Fun Kosev biz Kitev ('From Kosev to Kitev') Folksong Performed by Yuri Vedenyapin Yuri Vedenyapin is a Yiddish scholar, teacher, and singer. He was Preceptor in Yiddish at Harvard University from 2006 to 2011. He has also taught Yiddish language and culture at Columbia University, Moscow State University, and the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. He studied in Moscow at the Schepkin School of Acting and the Maimonides Jewish Academy, and in the United States at Harvard and Columbia, where he is completing his doctorate. His research interests include Yiddish folklore and dialects, intercultural and interfaith relations, and Yiddish literature and press. This summer he will be teaching at the Steiner Summer Program at the Yiddish Book Center and at the Yiddish Summer Weimar program in Weimar, Germany. 3. Kiev Special From the repertoire of the Jewish Orchestra of the Ukrainian SSR (c 1937) Performed by Ilana Cravitz and Carol Isaacs


__________________________ THANK YOU Michael & Svitlana Barnes Uilleam Blacker Katia Bowers Cambridge Ukrainian Society Ilana Cravitz Dmytro Drozdovskyi Emily Hines Carol Isaacs Christine James Nina Kharchuk Olesya Khromeychuk Paulna Kouchov Anne Lally Oleg Mykytenko Yuri Mykytenko Nik Palmer Yaron Peleg Simon Perry Svitlana Pyrkalo Rebecca Reich Nigel Reynolds Alti & Berel Rodal Laura Thomas Laia Vallverd Yuri Vedenyapin



Contact VSESVIT 34/1 Hrushevsky Street, Kyiv, 01021, Ukraine Tel.: (380-44) 253-1318; 253-2710; tel./fax: 253-0613 Email: Official Representative of VSESVIT in the UK: Svitlana Barnes, MA, ACIM Director, S Barnes Media Ltd 33 Sheppard Way, Cambridge, CBI 9AX UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1223 292 327 E-mail:

About Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, a programme of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge, aims to promote and contribute to the study of Ukraine in the United Kingdom and beyond. It is committed to deepening public understanding of Ukraine and to advancing fresh, innovative approaches to research on the largest country within Europe, a critical crossroads between 'East' and 'West' with a rich historical, linguistic, and cultural inheritance. While its primary focus is on the literature and culture of Ukraine, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies seeks to explore and challenge conventional notions of disciplinary and geographical borders and to foster a lively exchange between artists, scholars, politicians, and the wider public, as well as between institutions of higher learning in Ukraine, Europe, and North America. It was made a permanent programme in 2010.
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Produced by R E Finnin, Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies, University of Cambridge